Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Romelu Lukaku will be “out for a while” after suffering a nasty concussion during Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Southampton.
The Belgian, having fired a header over the bar minutes earlier, competed for a header with Wesley Hoedt, who smashed into the back of his head and left him on the floor.
Lukaku lay there for some time, his eyes clearly focusing on nothing in particular, before eventually being stretchered off for Marcus Rashford.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, noted that further tests would confirm the exact nature of his injury but claimed he would be out for meetings with Everton and Derby County at least.
Mou on Lukaku: "I don't know, I just know that bad, bad news normally arrives immediately and on this occasion bad news didn't arrive. But obviously it was a problem. We lost him for today and I would say for at least two more games." #MUFC
— Kris Voakes (@krisvoakes) December 30, 2017
Three draws in a row, set to be 18 points off Manchester City, behind Chelsea in the table, and now without Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for some time. That win at the Emirates feels like a while ago now.
Football is a wonderful game for its capacity to raise individuals and teams to unimaginable levels of success in the blink of an eye but, as Mourinho is now discovering, it can have the reverse effect.
Out of nowhere, United are staring down the barrel. Something needs to change – and fast.